[Tweeters] Strangely flocky afternoon: Evening Grosbeaks and TV's in West Seattle

Tucker, Trileigh TRI at seattleu.edu
Tue Sep 30 19:26:59 PDT 2014

Hi Tweets,

For some reason, this has been quite the day for unusual-to-me yard (and sighted-from-yard) birds. I’m living in my new home of a couple of months, so I wasn’t too surprised but still happy to see that the first Downy Woodpecker has discovered my suet feeder and visited several times today.

But the bigger surprise came from a lovely flock of 4-5 Evening Grosbeaks, who descended on my birdbaths to drink and bathe. Here’s a beautiful male<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/15383821206/>, and a pair of females swallowing<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/15220188560/in/photostream/> in tandem. There was also a scruffy juvenile – photos of him and a few others are here<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/with/15220188560>. I’ve never seen even one in Seattle before, although a quick check of eBird shows that they’ve been spotted by numerous observers in Discovery Park this month, and a few were spotted in West Seattle in 2010. So that was pretty exciting. I realized I’d been hearing them at night and occasionally during the day, but hadn’t known what they were.

About an hour later I went up on the deck and heard strange gull calls, looked toward the Sound and was startled to see a wheeling kettle of Turkey Vultures. I did a quick estimate of about 25 birds. Again, I think I may have seen just 1-2 in Seattle over many years. For what it’s worth, eBird gives only 3 reports of TV’s from West Seattle in the past ten years, one of which, with 125 birds, was on this exact date (9/30) in 2006. Interesting!

May your days be full of unexpected ornithological pleasures and treasures,

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Trileigh Tucker
Lincoln Park, West Seattle
Natural history website: naturalpresencearts.com<naturalpresence.wordpress.com>
Photography: flickr.com/photos/trileigh

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